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Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys

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Build an iconic shopping experience that your customers love--and a work environment that your employees love being a part of--using this blueprint from Trader Joe's visionary founder, Joe Coulombe. Infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Joe Coulombe founded what would become Trade Build an iconic shopping experience that your customers love--and a work environment that your employees love being a part of--using this blueprint from Trader Joe's visionary founder, Joe Coulombe. Infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Joe Coulombe founded what would become Trader Joe's in the late 1960s and helped shape it into the beloved, quirky food chain it is today. Realizing early on that he could not compete and win by playing the same game his bigger competitors were playing, he decided to build a store for educated people of somewhat modest means. He brought in unusual products from around the world and promoted them in the Fearless Flyer, providing customers with background on how they were sourced and their nutritional value. He also gave the stores a tiki theme to reinforce the exotic trader ship concept with employees wearing Hawaiian shirts. In this way, Joe laid down a blueprint for other business owners to follow to build their own unique shopping experience that customers love, and a work environment that employees love being a part of. In Becoming Trader Joe, Joe shares the lessons he learned by challenging the status quo and rethinking the way a business operates. He shows readers of all types: How moving from a pure analytical approach to a more creative, problem-solving approach can drive innovation. How finding an affluent niche of passionate customers can be a better strategy than competing on price and volume. How questioning all aspects of the way you do business leads to powerful results. How to build a business around your values and identity.


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Build an iconic shopping experience that your customers love--and a work environment that your employees love being a part of--using this blueprint from Trader Joe's visionary founder, Joe Coulombe. Infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Joe Coulombe founded what would become Trade Build an iconic shopping experience that your customers love--and a work environment that your employees love being a part of--using this blueprint from Trader Joe's visionary founder, Joe Coulombe. Infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Joe Coulombe founded what would become Trader Joe's in the late 1960s and helped shape it into the beloved, quirky food chain it is today. Realizing early on that he could not compete and win by playing the same game his bigger competitors were playing, he decided to build a store for educated people of somewhat modest means. He brought in unusual products from around the world and promoted them in the Fearless Flyer, providing customers with background on how they were sourced and their nutritional value. He also gave the stores a tiki theme to reinforce the exotic trader ship concept with employees wearing Hawaiian shirts. In this way, Joe laid down a blueprint for other business owners to follow to build their own unique shopping experience that customers love, and a work environment that employees love being a part of. In Becoming Trader Joe, Joe shares the lessons he learned by challenging the status quo and rethinking the way a business operates. He shows readers of all types: How moving from a pure analytical approach to a more creative, problem-solving approach can drive innovation. How finding an affluent niche of passionate customers can be a better strategy than competing on price and volume. How questioning all aspects of the way you do business leads to powerful results. How to build a business around your values and identity.

30 review for Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys

  1. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    We all have our favorite Trader Joe’s products, right? Mine are the Speculoos Cookie Butter, Conte di Bregonzo Amarone red wine (under $20!!!), and the Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel and Black Sea Salt. Sadly, this particular Trader Joe’s product, Becoming Trader Joe by Joe Coulombe, doesn’t make the cut. The best way I can describe it is to borrow the famous phrase from Anne Lamott. It reads like a $hitty First Draft. Coulombe’s story is undoubtedly a fascinating one for people interested in b We all have our favorite Trader Joe’s products, right? Mine are the Speculoos Cookie Butter, Conte di Bregonzo Amarone red wine (under $20!!!), and the Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel and Black Sea Salt. Sadly, this particular Trader Joe’s product, Becoming Trader Joe by Joe Coulombe, doesn’t make the cut. The best way I can describe it is to borrow the famous phrase from Anne Lamott. It reads like a $hitty First Draft. Coulombe’s story is undoubtedly a fascinating one for people interested in business, and his book is chock-full of detail on pricing, real estate, supply chain, marketing, and human resource strategies. It’s important to note though that he left TJ’s in 1989, about 10 years after he sold it to the German brothers who also own Aldi. The chain’s explosive growth since then is obviously not covered. Alas, Becoming Trader Joe is not well written or well structured. Grammatical errors abound, and there are a lot of clunky bits like ‘make sure to read such and such chapter.’ It’s surprising to me that a co-writer is credited, since the book is still in need of a big polish. Without it, the reading experience is like trying to find a space in the TJ’s parking lot. You circle in frustration but remain determined to get to all the good stuff inside. I received an advanced readers copy from HarperCollins Leadership via NetGalley. Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/ IG: @confettibookshelf

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Trader Joe's is the iconic upstart Southern California market that has for decades been a must-go for many of us from the discount wines to the unique specialty products you can't get anywhere else like the classic corn salsa to the gluten-free panettone. In the interests of full disclosure, we shop there all the time. The stores are smaller than regular supermarkets which often now are many times bigger than football fields. There are few brand names which you don't notice except when you look Trader Joe's is the iconic upstart Southern California market that has for decades been a must-go for many of us from the discount wines to the unique specialty products you can't get anywhere else like the classic corn salsa to the gluten-free panettone. In the interests of full disclosure, we shop there all the time. The stores are smaller than regular supermarkets which often now are many times bigger than football fields. There are few brand names which you don't notice except when you look for specific sodas or cereals. And, perhaps because of the Hawaiian 🌺 shirts, the staff lacks the almost-universal surliness of standard markets. Here, the founder of Trader Joe's, Joe Coulombe himself, tells the business story from its inauspicious beginnings to its iconic place in American culture. It's primarily a business story about buying and selling and dealing with truckloads of government regulations and anti-competitive brand names who have most retailers by the balls. Center to the story is the homogenization of brand name products through advertising and product placement. Joe started his upstart business to mimic the 7-Elevens which had not yet reached California. He paid his staff better than industry standard and found his niche in buying products such as wine and liquor. Eventually, the key became to sell products under the store brand, eschewing all the big name brands. Thus, began the quirky little store everyone loves. Much of the book is about balance sheets and learning on the fly to operate the business. Chapters are spent on leases and store sites and shelving decisions. Chapters focus on how different some of the decisions were. Remarkable too is how the chain was sold four decades ago and still manages to echo the founder's ideals. This is a fascinating business story and a must-read fir fans of this unique enterprise.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dara

    Fun view into the world of Trader Joe’s. I really appreciated learning more about how the company was built out. They were definitely ahead of the trends in many ways. For instance, producing almond butter from leftover almond scraps before most other retailers and introducing many imported wines into the California market (ultimately becoming the #1 retailer for imported wine in California at the time). My biggest complaint is that the book feels a little scatterbrained at times - jumping across Fun view into the world of Trader Joe’s. I really appreciated learning more about how the company was built out. They were definitely ahead of the trends in many ways. For instance, producing almond butter from leftover almond scraps before most other retailers and introducing many imported wines into the California market (ultimately becoming the #1 retailer for imported wine in California at the time). My biggest complaint is that the book feels a little scatterbrained at times - jumping across time frames and alluding to elements that we learn about later on. Additionally, while I liked it overall, I didn’t find all the chapters necessary - for instance those that covered Joe’s career outside of TJ’s.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Becoming Trader Joe by Joe Coulombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June. Coulombe speaks of being involved with grocers and markets since the 1950s, and his accomplishments in purveying, fair trade, creating a store brand, business management. Whoa, and he is hella babbly and grandiose with a whole world and timeline of food products to draw from; it's great for someone whose attention wanes and is attracted to shiny speech, but definitely not an easy read for everyone. Becoming Trader Joe by Joe Coulombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June. Coulombe speaks of being involved with grocers and markets since the 1950s, and his accomplishments in purveying, fair trade, creating a store brand, business management. Whoa, and he is hella babbly and grandiose with a whole world and timeline of food products to draw from; it's great for someone whose attention wanes and is attracted to shiny speech, but definitely not an easy read for everyone.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    *This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's copy from NetGalley. It's always a treat to go shop at Trader Joe's. Interesting products, new stuff added, a fantastic cheese selection; there's not much more you could ask for (except for those horrible parking lots). So to find out the origin story was pretty appealing. I learned a lot from this book. Both about Trader Joe's and the general running of a grocery type store. Coulombe talks a lot about supply and demand, the various regulations tha *This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's copy from NetGalley. It's always a treat to go shop at Trader Joe's. Interesting products, new stuff added, a fantastic cheese selection; there's not much more you could ask for (except for those horrible parking lots). So to find out the origin story was pretty appealing. I learned a lot from this book. Both about Trader Joe's and the general running of a grocery type store. Coulombe talks a lot about supply and demand, the various regulations that were around and changed, how to handle inventory and employees. It kind of runs the gamut. About Trader Joe's itself I was surprised to find out how long they've been around. And the various changes they've made as a store to focus on different things before becoming what it is today (I wish they still sliced cheese in-house). The narrative was very much what I'd call 'old man rambling'. Which is not a bad thing, but it's a meandering narrative that keeps referring back to other stories (or in this case other chapters). Some of it got a bit too technical for my taste; just because I don't have plans on ever running a grocery store like that and don't need to know all the intricacies of buying and selling. However, for a business major, that may be a key feature of this book. There were a few turn of phrases that had me groaning a bit too; his outlook is generally pretty good and progressive, but some of the comments about introducing women workers in the store or business as a whole (honestly it's just probably reflective of the time) or making a time-off bank because employees would prefer to use their days for vacation rather than sick time. But thankfully most of what was there was good; Coulombe is pretty progressive on wages, employee treatment, outlook on the store and changing demographics and needs. An interesting book, but definitely don't go into it thinking it's a lighthearted read on your favorite grocery store; it's more that mixed up with a whole lot of business lore. Review by M. Reynard 2021

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Ya Lopez

    As part of the Trader Joe’s cult, (starting in my 30’s) I was super excited to read this (technically, listen). It was almost like a history lesson from a California perspective. I really enjoyed learning about how TJ’s transformed overtime and the change in items sold. I have a few things on my list to look for next time I do a TJ’s run! I learned a lot, though parts were a little uninteresting to me, more so toward the end of the book. Cheers to great products, well treated employees & afforda As part of the Trader Joe’s cult, (starting in my 30’s) I was super excited to read this (technically, listen). It was almost like a history lesson from a California perspective. I really enjoyed learning about how TJ’s transformed overtime and the change in items sold. I have a few things on my list to look for next time I do a TJ’s run! I learned a lot, though parts were a little uninteresting to me, more so toward the end of the book. Cheers to great products, well treated employees & affordable prices!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    What a fun and informative book! I don't usually read books about business--okay, I never read business books--but I shop at Trader Joe's and find the store concept unique, their employees long-lasting, and their price points excellent, so I wanted to read more about it. This entertaining book gave me all the answers and it's written in the humorous and lively tone of the store's newsletter, The Fearless Flyer. The reason the employees stay? Top wages and insurance coverage, which is why I've se What a fun and informative book! I don't usually read books about business--okay, I never read business books--but I shop at Trader Joe's and find the store concept unique, their employees long-lasting, and their price points excellent, so I wanted to read more about it. This entertaining book gave me all the answers and it's written in the humorous and lively tone of the store's newsletter, The Fearless Flyer. The reason the employees stay? Top wages and insurance coverage, which is why I've seen the SAME employees as five years ago. The founder of Trader Joe's died in December 2020 but if you shop there, I encourage you to read this story (which is always a good idea to learn more about companies you patronize!).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ginny

    As a marketing professor and Trader Joe's consumer, this book piqued my interest right away. Interesting to see the beginnings of Trader Joe's, the iconic store for all things different and inexpensive. Laughing as I found their target audience was me way back in the days of grad school and first jobs, listening to public radio and having not many dollars to spend on food and wine. Coulombe depicts life behind the scenes in corporate America pretty well. Mergers, acquisitions, special deals and As a marketing professor and Trader Joe's consumer, this book piqued my interest right away. Interesting to see the beginnings of Trader Joe's, the iconic store for all things different and inexpensive. Laughing as I found their target audience was me way back in the days of grad school and first jobs, listening to public radio and having not many dollars to spend on food and wine. Coulombe depicts life behind the scenes in corporate America pretty well. Mergers, acquisitions, special deals and working between the lines of taxation and regulation come up frequently. For the reader, the fast pace dialogue and slightly disorganized time lines can be difficult to follow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick Miller

    I read a few of the top reviews and they are accurate. Bit hard to read due to it not necessarily being organized in any which way, but from what I understand Joe was very scatterbrained so it would appear the glove fits. Still interesting enough to get through to see where some of the things we know and love about TJ’s stemmed from, although it’s been 30 years since joe has been involved. Surprisingly it seems as if they’ve remained true to what joe created all those years ago since he left.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Dunn

    2 1/2 stars. It’s more aimed toward a business audience which is definitely not me. It’s also not organized chronologically which I had a hard time with. I love to shop at Trader Joe’s but the book was kinda boring.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kerri D

    so this guy wasn't involved in Trader Joes since 1989- he sold it to the Germans. So a lot of this is really old news and only occasionally interesting. For example- he said people won't buy groceries on the internet. Mkay. so this guy wasn't involved in Trader Joes since 1989- he sold it to the Germans. So a lot of this is really old news and only occasionally interesting. For example- he said people won't buy groceries on the internet. Mkay.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Full disclosure... Trader Joe's is my happy place! I'm currently heading up a project to try to get one in our town so, when I saw this book you know I just had to read it! This book gives the reader, presumably Trader Joe's fans, a behind the scenes look to how the stores came to be and a bit of a timeline for Joe Coulombe, AKA... Trader Joe. I found this book to be a fascinating behind the scenes peak at into how grocery stores are run but not only that, a peek at how Joe was truly a visionary Full disclosure... Trader Joe's is my happy place! I'm currently heading up a project to try to get one in our town so, when I saw this book you know I just had to read it! This book gives the reader, presumably Trader Joe's fans, a behind the scenes look to how the stores came to be and a bit of a timeline for Joe Coulombe, AKA... Trader Joe. I found this book to be a fascinating behind the scenes peak at into how grocery stores are run but not only that, a peek at how Joe was truly a visionary! Ahead of his time in so many ways, ahead of the trends. The first store to introduce almond butter, the way they purchased and sold wines, milk, cheeses and so many more products! Their policies regarding employees, pay and benefits... Always ahead of their competitors, and still are to this day! I have personally talked to many Trader Joe's employees... They love their job, love the company they work for, and love the pay and benefits! This book can get a bit technical at times and read a little bit more like a "how to do business book". Part business book, part memoir...If it gets a bit technical for you, I suggest speed reading through those parts to the next interesting chapter for you. Trust me, there's something in this book for everyone and I personally found it so very interesting! Now, I need to plan my next trip to Trader Joe's... Do you shop with a list or let the spirit of Joe guide you? I usually do a bit of both but, I think I'll let Joe guide me on my next trip 😁

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg Kopstein

    Note: I received an ARC from Net Galley. This book is in the model of Made in American(Walmart) and Grinding it Out (McDonald’s) and others like it. It is useful to have a book by a CEO or founder, especially one who has created such an iconic brand. I shop at Trader Joe’s, and it’s a very different experience and product than other grocery stores. Because of this difference, I wanted to know more about the brand’s origin. This book has many useful tips and facts, providing expert advice for fut Note: I received an ARC from Net Galley. This book is in the model of Made in American(Walmart) and Grinding it Out (McDonald’s) and others like it. It is useful to have a book by a CEO or founder, especially one who has created such an iconic brand. I shop at Trader Joe’s, and it’s a very different experience and product than other grocery stores. Because of this difference, I wanted to know more about the brand’s origin. This book has many useful tips and facts, providing expert advice for future business entrepreneurs. I enjoyed this book and Joe was honest and forthright, but sometimes at the expense of organizing his thoughts. Joe goes back to the earliest days under Rexall, but since he retired in the 80s or early 90s, Trader Joe’s has 30 more years of information and growth that is not covered by this book. I enjoyed this book and I encourage others to read it. I think there’s a lot here to utilize and expert advice, that is tried and true, is a fantastic resource. But it’s also, unfortunately, 30 years past its sell-by date.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

    Reading this book was like sitting down for a drink (or a series of drinks) with a grizzled mentor who wants you to succeed. Even more interesting, as I read Joe Coulumbe's treatise on his unorthodox business methods ("how we built a successful business on high wages"), the business world in 2021 is in an uproar due to the post-pandemic loss of workers. Economists are speculating that wages will have to go up before the workforce will show up again. Listen to Trader Joe, folks. He'll tell you how Reading this book was like sitting down for a drink (or a series of drinks) with a grizzled mentor who wants you to succeed. Even more interesting, as I read Joe Coulumbe's treatise on his unorthodox business methods ("how we built a successful business on high wages"), the business world in 2021 is in an uproar due to the post-pandemic loss of workers. Economists are speculating that wages will have to go up before the workforce will show up again. Listen to Trader Joe, folks. He'll tell you how to attract and keep top-quality employees: Pay them a living wage! Yes, he rambles a bit in the book (the "grizzled mentor"), but there are so many gems: "productivity in part is the product of tenure. That's why I believe that turnover is the most expensive form of labor expense." I read this because Trader Joe's restored my faith that honorable businesses can succeed wildly even when they ignore the worst of capitalist tenets (I'm a fan). I will recommend it to every entrepreneur I know. Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Leadership for an advance readers copy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Fitz

    I briefly worked in retail management in the early 90s while attending college and have always been curious about retail-level economics. I'm also a fan of Trader Joes as our go-to grocery store where we have had access to one. And we do now. I have always been curious about what gives Trade Joe's a cult-like following as well as its idiosyncrasies (Hawaiian shirts, its "Fearless Flyer" newspaper, its outsize wine/alcohol selection, and its choice of products in a limited footprint). This book e I briefly worked in retail management in the early 90s while attending college and have always been curious about retail-level economics. I'm also a fan of Trader Joes as our go-to grocery store where we have had access to one. And we do now. I have always been curious about what gives Trade Joe's a cult-like following as well as its idiosyncrasies (Hawaiian shirts, its "Fearless Flyer" newspaper, its outsize wine/alcohol selection, and its choice of products in a limited footprint). This book explains it very well and how its founder built an incredibly profitable business model in a crowded retail market. There are a lot of gems of wisdom, although it's probably more helpful to people in the retail management world. This isn't me, but I just enjoyed Joe Coulombe's quirky sense of humor mixed in with lessons learned (often the hard way) about surviving, sustaining, and succeeding. He's a real throw-back to business principles from the 60s-80s - when he was building this brand.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Serena B

    As an avid Trader Joe’s customer, I was immediately intrigued with this book title and description. This book leans heavily into the nuts and bolts of operating the Trader Joe’s company and how it evolved over time. There is a lengthy discussion on the wine industry and how Trader Joe’s started as more of a convenience store model with alcohol (in a wider range and quality than competitors) and some consumer goods and foods, which then evolved into its current reputation as a health food store w As an avid Trader Joe’s customer, I was immediately intrigued with this book title and description. This book leans heavily into the nuts and bolts of operating the Trader Joe’s company and how it evolved over time. There is a lengthy discussion on the wine industry and how Trader Joe’s started as more of a convenience store model with alcohol (in a wider range and quality than competitors) and some consumer goods and foods, which then evolved into its current reputation as a health food store with unique products and high quality alcohol at good prices. This book would appeal to people in the retail industry and those in other business fields, given the themes of lean business management, how to value employees, and strategies for keeping the business profitable. My key take-aways include an understanding of the phases of the Trader Joe’s brand and the context of that within the greater society (for example, increased interest in health foods, the wine industry and regulations) and understanding what continues to make Trader Joe’s unique. Many thanks to HarperCollins Leadership and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This book tells how Trader Joe's came to be. I've never been in a Trader Joe's store, but I feel like the book gives me a good window into it. The book reads like an older guy telling the reader how & why he did things, made the decisions he did to grow the company to a success. There's a lot of business management, supply & demand, logistics, bank numbers, tax issues & accounting jargon....so it reads kind of 'dry.' I found the 1st half of the book the most interesting, because it seemed to be This book tells how Trader Joe's came to be. I've never been in a Trader Joe's store, but I feel like the book gives me a good window into it. The book reads like an older guy telling the reader how & why he did things, made the decisions he did to grow the company to a success. There's a lot of business management, supply & demand, logistics, bank numbers, tax issues & accounting jargon....so it reads kind of 'dry.' I found the 1st half of the book the most interesting, because it seemed to be more about Trader Joe's & toward the end I felt it was more about corporate office/bank juggling/what Joe C. has been doing since he left TJ's. The book is arranged/put together in such a way as to make a rather dry subject interesting! I received this e-book from HarperCollins via NetGalley, in return for reading it & offering my own fair/honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve Brock

    This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 6/27, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet and Stevo's Novel Ideas. The book not only details how Coulombe got started, but also describes his marketing strategies and gives tips on how you can apply them to your own business model. The key: infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Find more Business Books of the week on my Go This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 6/27, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet and Stevo's Novel Ideas. The book not only details how Coulombe got started, but also describes his marketing strategies and gives tips on how you can apply them to your own business model. The key: infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot. Find more Business Books of the week on my Goodreads Listopia page at https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/9..., and find many more recommended books on my Amazon Influencer page at https://www.amazon.com/shop/stevo4747 or by searching for me on Google.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Writing Isn’t Easy. I almost feel like writing a memoir was just checking another box on Joe Coulombe’s list. Unless you are an aspiring grocery magnate, this box is a jumbled waste of time. The editors could have done him a few favors with organization, or fewer references to other chapters that wound up as disappointing memories from a man reflecting in the twilight years of his life. The only reason for the second star is that I appreciate what was made in Trader Joe’s, and here and there, sn Writing Isn’t Easy. I almost feel like writing a memoir was just checking another box on Joe Coulombe’s list. Unless you are an aspiring grocery magnate, this box is a jumbled waste of time. The editors could have done him a few favors with organization, or fewer references to other chapters that wound up as disappointing memories from a man reflecting in the twilight years of his life. The only reason for the second star is that I appreciate what was made in Trader Joe’s, and here and there, snapshots of important events in the store’s history appeared. For the most part, however, I would not recommend this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Tucker

    If you own or manage a retail store or if you plan on it, read this book! Joe Coulombe's thoroughly readable and incredibly detailed memoir of his work in the retail trade from the 50's to the 90's will most certainly guide you in the direction of success. This is not a vanity piece. It is not a bunch of rah-rah go-get-'em claptrap. It is, to put it most succinctly, an MBA between paper covers. I am a retired retailer and have managed and owned businesses for 50 years. Becoming Trader Joe will b If you own or manage a retail store or if you plan on it, read this book! Joe Coulombe's thoroughly readable and incredibly detailed memoir of his work in the retail trade from the 50's to the 90's will most certainly guide you in the direction of success. This is not a vanity piece. It is not a bunch of rah-rah go-get-'em claptrap. It is, to put it most succinctly, an MBA between paper covers. I am a retired retailer and have managed and owned businesses for 50 years. Becoming Trader Joe will be the best twenty bucks you'll ever spend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MICHEL BROTMAN

    A FUN READ WITH VALUABLE LESSONS As a former specialty store retailer and entrepreneur teacher I appreciated Joe's writing style and insights to this unique business. As a huge fan of Trader Joe's I loved learning about its history and the logic behind their decisions. I would have given it all 5 stars but there was a little too much detail from time to time. Nonetheless, I'm sad that I'm done with a truly fun read A FUN READ WITH VALUABLE LESSONS As a former specialty store retailer and entrepreneur teacher I appreciated Joe's writing style and insights to this unique business. As a huge fan of Trader Joe's I loved learning about its history and the logic behind their decisions. I would have given it all 5 stars but there was a little too much detail from time to time. Nonetheless, I'm sad that I'm done with a truly fun read

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I very much enjoyed this book from trader joe himself, in part because I am a current MBA candidate. I appreciated the deep dive into his business strategy and the story of Trader Joe the business. While a light read and enjoyable in tone, this book would have benefited from another edit - several passages are repeated word for word, and the frequent parenthetical asides are distracting instead of cute by the end of chapter three. Would recommend to MBA students or TJ enthusiasts.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Thank you for the e-arc NetGalley. Who doesn’t love a Trader Joe’s shopping trip?! This takes you behind the scenes of how Trader Joe’s came to be from the man himself, Joe Coulombe. There are some great management takeaways from this book however not being a high level manager in retail some of this went way over my head. This was an interesting book overall.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natillie Painter

    I enjoy an underdog story and I love the fact that after I read this business memoir/blueprint I can still say I am a Trader Joe's customer. I hope you enjoy this witty memoir about finding your place in today's crazy business world, let alone a world that is moving to everything being online only where one can NOT stop and smell the roses as they enter the marketplace. I enjoy an underdog story and I love the fact that after I read this business memoir/blueprint I can still say I am a Trader Joe's customer. I hope you enjoy this witty memoir about finding your place in today's crazy business world, let alone a world that is moving to everything being online only where one can NOT stop and smell the roses as they enter the marketplace.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Great insight into the mind of an entrepreneur and how he founded and built up the company Trader Joe's. Also an insightful look into the grocery business in general. I've loved shopping at Trader Joe's for years and learning how the store was founded and the background on some of the unique and delicious foods available (and some of their fun names) was fun. Great insight into the mind of an entrepreneur and how he founded and built up the company Trader Joe's. Also an insightful look into the grocery business in general. I've loved shopping at Trader Joe's for years and learning how the store was founded and the background on some of the unique and delicious foods available (and some of their fun names) was fun.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Buron

    2.5 stars! The grocery store is my obsession but this book was not. Unfortunately, it wasn't what I expected and was way too technical. If you're looking to open up a grocery store and want lots of specific information pertaining to the ins and outs of that, this book would be worth a read. Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review! 2.5 stars! The grocery store is my obsession but this book was not. Unfortunately, it wasn't what I expected and was way too technical. If you're looking to open up a grocery store and want lots of specific information pertaining to the ins and outs of that, this book would be worth a read. Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Odile

    Great read for people who love shopping at Trader Joe and interested in business. High level case study of how Trader Joe became what it is today. I could definitely recognize the unique features of Trader Joe and now understood how they well built. I like to lively style that doesn't stay very approachable for the layman regarding finance, retail and regulations. Great read for people who love shopping at Trader Joe and interested in business. High level case study of how Trader Joe became what it is today. I could definitely recognize the unique features of Trader Joe and now understood how they well built. I like to lively style that doesn't stay very approachable for the layman regarding finance, retail and regulations.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane Busch

    This turned out to be more of a business book and complete history of Joe’s career more than a biography with interesting tidbits of his life. So although the totality of it is an interesting story, it was hard to stick with it since many portions about the grocery business I didn’t really care about.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Darya

    I had a chance to hold on my hands the advance reader copy of this book. The story is interesting and provides a lot of insights on how Trader Joe started and grew. Engaging story gives ideas and thinking points in how to drive your own business forward

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patty Civalleri

    Very insightful for Small Businesses After all these years, the mystery of Joe has been solved. His way of 'seeing' things was unique. I wish I knew how to think like Joe when I had a business of my own. Very insightful for Small Businesses After all these years, the mystery of Joe has been solved. His way of 'seeing' things was unique. I wish I knew how to think like Joe when I had a business of my own.

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